Ambassador Acharya, India’s National Security Advisor Doval meetThe meeting comes as New Delhi and Kathmandu attempt to resume high-level exchanges following the border dispute.
Amid soured ties between Nepal and India following a border dispute, Nepal’s Ambassador to India Nilamber Acharya and India’s National Security Advisor Ajit Doval met in New Delhi on Friday to stress “the need for dialogue” between the two neighbours.
The meeting between Doval and Acharya, both of whom hold positions equivalent to a Cabinet minister, has been seen as part of an effort to minimise misunderstanding caused by the recent border row.
According to a source, the two discussed various avenues of bilateral ties during the 30- minute-long meeting. “During the meeting, both officials stressed the need to hold dialogue between the two countries,” a source told the Post, adding that Doval was interested in resolving the border dispute at the earliest.
Sources said that officials from both the countries are considering convening a meeting of the Nepal-India Joint Commission, which is co-chaired by Foreign Ministers of both the countries. As Nepal hosted the fifth meeting of the joint commission in Kathmandu last year, it is India’s turn to do so this time around. However, a concrete proposal on convening the meeting has not been presented, said Minister for Foreign Affairs Pradeep Gyawalu.
Sources also said that the meeting came as both sides attempt to resume high-level communications, contacts and engagements after the boundary row. Officials tell the Post that for the near future, engagements between Nepal and India will depend on how Sino-India relations develop—if the situation doesn’t return to normal, New Delhi will have to focus on Beijing at the cost of its neighbourhood. But if normalcy returns to the ties, New Delhi will have time to focus on its neighbours and high-level exchanges could resume, a senior official tracking developments in India, told the Post.
As part of the high-level exchange, India’s Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla, who assumed his office in January, Home Minister Rajnath Singh or External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar could visit Nepal soon, officials said. Of the three, Shringla could be the first to visit Kathmandu as early as next month to continue the tradition of Indian foreign secretaries visiting the neighbours after assuming office.
However, foreign secretary-level talks between Nepal and India might be postponed for later as the tenure of Shankar Bairagi, secretary at Nepal’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is coming to an end on October 11, said a source at the ministry.
Likewise, Nepal has prioritised Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali’s visit to India if high-level visitors from India can’t make it due to technical issues. “The Indian side is also positive on this,” said the source.
Gyawali has not gone on an official visit to the southern neighbour even one-and-a-half years into his tenure. Gyawali, who was part of the Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s team during his official visit to India, had participated in the Raisina Dialogue and the funeral ceremony of late Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Bajpayee in New Delhi.